Deep in the bowels of my underground laboratory, on a dark and stormy
night... Okay, okay, down in the basement during daylight, I have an old kitchen
table, an old lamp, a discount microscope, discarded empty pill bottles, paper towels,
etc. This is my goat laboratory. I donít go down there at night because the lighting is
not the best and I probably would trip over barn boots left there for their next trip
At the age past middle age, I have finally discovered what I should have been, a goat
scientist. I love to study things about goats. Itís a late growing gift. Letís take giving
goat shots for instance. This is a study all in itself. A scientist could study this for years.
I heard it as a voice from above that I was to give goats shots. Well, really it was from
my husband who said, "Iím stronger then you and have to hold these goats, so youíll
have to be the one to give the shots. Go ahead around back and get sick and then come
back and give this goat a shot before it gets me down again."
True, I had the shakes for a while about giving shots and I did get physically sick to my
stomach over it, but now I can give a shot with the best of them, if the goat will just
hold still. I just had to learn that a needle can be very sharp and never point it at myself,
and in particular, at my husband. I have also learned that CD/T shots, antibiotic shots,
vitamin shots, will not harm a person. Iím not for sure about the worming shots, but
Iím sure Iíll come out a healthier person when itís all said and done. So, you have to be
analytical about these things, as a true scientist would.
Taking a temperature was another scientific endeavor. I believe digital thermometers
are a gift from God and we should use them. I never could read those mercury
thermometers and to actually have something beep at you when it is finished, hold the
number until you can find your glasses, is a true God send. All goat scientists should
own a digital thermometer. Try using them on a goat, thatís a little trickier. Canít stick
it in their mouths or in their armpits. Yep, it goes directly under the tail. And, those
goats can pucker up so tight; it takes a flashlight and a magnifying glass to find the spot
to insert that thermometer. But, a scientist has to do what a scientist has to do.
Take kidding, for instance, when that doe has been in hard labor for a half-hour, well
something has to be done. As a scientist, I discovered this the first time we ever kidded.
Lee was holding onto the hollering doe and told me to put a glove on, like the book
said, and go in and check around. The next voice I heard as I came to, was Lee saying,
"Connie. Connie, get up off the ground and go get your gloves. NO. The clear plastic
gloves, not your insulated barn gloves."
After kidding, another deep study takes place in studying the afterbirth to make sure the
doe has passed all of it. Itís this red, gooey, squishy mess, so slimy it just slides out of
your hands. I know these are highly technical scientific terms, but you get my drift. The
hardest part about this is when the doe decides she has to eat her afterbirth and you
find yourself playing tug of war with her. What insane reason she has for wanting to eat
this, Iíll never know. She needs a little snack after all that hard work? All I know is that
while Iím gagging, she is busy trying to gobble it down.
Drenching is another goat scientific study, whether itís drenching for worms or
drenching with pepto for runny bottom (sorry, another scientific term for diarrhea). The
study comes if you have drenched your goats several times in the past and they have
caught on. They get this sly look in their eyes, allow you put the drench gun in their
mouths, and then, with an evil chuckle, flip their tongue up and cover the end of the
nozzle. You receive this fine spray of wormer all over your face. I have scientifically
discovered that wormers range in taste from kerosene to gasoline. Donít ask me why I
know what kerosene or gasoline tastes like. That was another scientific study.
I have also discovered that pink pepto is almost wash resistant. You can scrub it off
your face and hands, which causes the skin to dry up something awful. But, off clothes,
thatís another matter. I have shirts with one-year pepto stains all over them. Repeated
washings do not impress those stains. Nor the other stains you get when you chase
down kids with runny bottoms and have to carry them back to your supply of pepto.
Back to my underground laboratory, I mean, my microscope in the basement. I have
learned to do fecals. I find myself cackling like an evil scientist when I prepare my
fecals and I also start calling Lee "Egor". He usually tells me to knock it off and goes
back upstairs. Me thinks he acts a little nervous down here in my underground
laboratory. Cackle. Cackle. Okay, I just scared myself, letís get on with the scientific
study of fecals.
Letís say Iíve already collected some fresh goat berries in nice clean sandwich baggies.
Now, I need the fecal solution for this to work. For some reason my vet would not sell
me the solution. She must have thought Iíd drink it or something. Instead, she said to
make my own only using sugar.
I hunted up the recipe and put it in my recipe book. If anyone goes through my recipes,
they are going to be more then a little baffled. I need one pound of sugar, twelve
ounces of water, and 6 ml of formaldehyde. I hunted high and low in my kitchen
cabinets and for some reason could not find the formaldehyde. Of course I could not
find the formaldehyde. Whatís wrong with these people? How many people keep
formaldehyde on hand? So, I mixed the fecal solution without the formaldehyde,
realizing that in a day or two this solution will mold if itís not used up. Us goat scientists
instinctively know these things.
I happily squished up goat berries and solution, let them set, and checked the slide
under the microscope. I was so content. This was what I was made for. Squishing goat
berries, playing with a microscope and all in my underground laboratory. All I needed
was thunder and lightning outside. Well, you canít have everything. Oh, before I forget,
in using this sugar fecal solution, remember to have paper towels on hand. If you donít,
youíll automatically lick your fingers every time you feel some stickiness while you are
working on fecals. Not a good idea.
After I had finished up, I went outside where Lee was working on our stubborn truck.
He watched me pat my pockets. "What are you up to, Connie?" he asked.
I patted one pocket. "Iíve got a pocketful of clean sandwich baggies on this side and a
permanent magic marker on this side to mark the baggies, and Iím going out to the
pasture to watch goats and collect goat berries," I said.
"Youíre one strange woman, Connie," Lee remarked admirably, I thought.
"I know," I said happily. "But, thatís what it takes to be a goat scientist," and walked on
down the hill to the pastures.